James Cameron, Mark Osbourne and Jack Black have joined the David Fincher produced "Heavy Metal" project, according to Film School Rejects who spoke with co-producer Kevin Eastman.
Cameron, who will also serve as an executive producer the project alongside Fincher, will direct a segment for the anthology film as will Osbourne who will re-team with his "Kung Fu Panda" star Black for a comedy segment. The trio join the likes of Tim Miller, Zack Snyder and Gore Verbinski who are all already on board.
It doesn't end there either. Eastman also revealed the potential acquisition of more segment helmers. "Three other directors have agreed but we haven’t signed them, but they’re equally as jaw-dropping. So we’re on cloud nine to be working with such an amazing amount of talent.”
Robert Rodriguez has previously declared his love for the adult fantasy magazine and even proclaimed his desire to make a film from it. It wouldn't surprise us to see him join the project though, with his plate plentiful of projects, is that a realistic possibility? Rob Zombie has also spoken of an approach by Fincher and Eastman to join the project while Guillermo Del Toro's name was also thrown up early days. All three seem like good fits for "Heavy Metal."
It remains to be seen which of those three names, if any, will join the project but, with the immense talent already on board, this project is definitely shaping up grandly. And how can you go wrong with Cameron and Fincher as executive producers, right?
James Cameron, Mark Osbourne and Jack Black have joined the David Fincher produced "Heavy Metal" project, according to Film School Rejects who spoke with co-producer Kevin Eastman.
During the press tour for "The Taking Of Pelham 1, 2, 3," producer Todd Black opened up to the NY Post, who brought us that hellacious David Carradine headline, about the next installment in the Wall-Crawler's saga. While it's been up in the air in the form of cryptic interview answers from all parties involved, Black confirmed that Kirsten Dunst WILL return for "Spider-Man 4." There had been some speculation regarding her role in the next film considering she hasn't been too high on the lack of development regarding her character. Black confirms that there is also no wedding subplot involving Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker, which means either MJ's role is significantly beefed up, or the price was right.
Deflating previous enthusiasm shown by fans regarding cagey Sam Raimi comments, he also confirms the series won't be going the supernatural way and adding vampire antihero Morbius to the mix. "We're just coming up with who the villain's going to be now," he says, "We'll be shooting in New York again. Trust me, people will appreciate who we pick, because it'll be a big part of New York." Black also confirms that it will be a villain from the comics, but there aren't really any villains with strong New York ties. The NY Post writer suggests a couple of popular contenders, but he's not as wise to the comics as we are...
Kraven: No NY ties to speak of. However, he would fit the movie's theme of an animal hunt, as the movie's probably going to go with multiple villains again, possibly with an animal theme. Kraven's a big game hunter who won't be satisfied until he's bagged Spider-Man, so he comes to the city to wreak havoc. A mix of Crocodile Dundee and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Russian strongman was believed to be a contender to feature in the film when it was rumored that Mickey Rourke was offered a role in the film, with Sergei Kravinoff being the most Rourke-like of all potential villains. Bringing in Kraven would also open the door for Kraven's vengeful brother, the crime boss Chameleon- yes, the name is quite literal.
Kingpin: The Kingpin is a mafia crime figure who controls the NY underworld. He's clashed with Spidey many times before in the comics, but Fox opted to include him in "Daredevil," which would mean the studio would have to loan him out a la Michael Keaton in "Out of Sight." While this seems like a possibility, why would the biggest franchise in Sony's stable resort to "Daredevil"'s sloppy seconds?
The Lizard: The most likely candidate. Dylan Baker has been playing Dr. Curt Connors, who featured in the last two films and was name-dropped in the first. Such a decent actor shouldn't be sidelined for so long, so it's likely Connors will live out his comic transformation into the Lizard, the result of an experiment designed to grow his arm back. Connors is a professor at Spidey's Empire State University (technically Columbia), so there are NY roots in that, we suppose.
Carnage: An offshoot of Venom, Carnage is the result of Venom's remaining symbiote finding a new, far more depraced host in deranged serial killer Cletus Kasady. Despite fans disliking the third film, they still seem to enjoy Venom, who may be getting his own spinoff film, and there's precedence to Carnage's entrance into the series, as Dr. Connors probably retained the portion of the symbiote given to him by Peter Parker to study.
J. Jonah Jameson, Scorpion, Man-Wolf: Definitely NY-based, and with Raimi constantly tying the villains' origin in with Peter Parker in one way or another, it might be best to keep that trend and pick someone who's already been established in the series. Played by JK Simmons so far in the series, Jameson is a far more malicious entity in the comics, having once paid to recruit supervillain the Scorpion into the fold. In the current comic run, Jameson has just completed a run for mayor of NYC- can't get more New York City that that. He would have had the excuse in the second film to at least pursue Peter Parker, the man who stole Mary Jane from Jameson's astronaut son, but that plotline disappeared from the comics. John Jameson (Daniel Gillies) could also return, possibly undergoing his comics transformation into the Man-Wolf.
Electro: A lifetime NYer, Electro is one of the ground-level personalities who became supervillains through a freak accident. Keeping in mind Raimi's interest with Peter Parker's inability to pay the bills, he could conceivably come across electric company employee Maxwell Dillion at some point and accidentally cause his transformation into the electricity-powered villain. Electro's always been a source of comedy in the comics until given a modern day revision that made the character realize he was gay. Gay electric company worker? Raimi has admitted in the past he was a fan of Electro, and he seems dead-set on using the very early Spidey villains- they don't appear much earlier than Electro, a 1964 creation.
Mysterio: A fan favorite, Mysterio is a failed actor-turned-special-effects artist who used his talents to embark on a series of crimes across New York City. The only tie to NY would be in the theory that Mysterio has appeared in every Spider-Man movie. Fans speculate that, being such a throwaway character, Mysterio would be revealed to be the comic relief character played by Bruce Campbell in each film. While Campbell has played a wrestling announcer, a theater attendant, and a maitre'd, the argument suggests that they are all sidejobs a NY-based actor would have.
The Vulture: An early addition for the third film when it was to be two movies back to back, it was reported that Raimi was interested in Sir Ben Kingsley for the role. The elderly Adrian Toombes, a criminal with a feathery flying apparatus, is known to hail from Staten Island, and could be a romantic foil for Aunt May.
Hobgoblin: Not another Goblin, right? The many Hobgoblins of the comics embraced crime after finding the leftover Green Goblin material from the Osbornes, but none were very interesting or had NY ties. The Ned Leeds' version of Hobgoblin did have a relationship with Daily Bugle receptionist Betty Brant, so maybe Elizabeth Banks could be given something to do this time.
Rudy Giuliani- How about a President Giuliani declaring New York a crime cesspool after the formation of the Sinister Six and walling the city off, aligning himself with Sarah Palin and the Republican Party to stomp out the extraordinariness of Spider-Man, who surely doesn't represent the reality of Joe Sixpack? The Wall-Crawler must fight a sea of superpowered enemies while battling covert "traditionalist" values and pro-life terrorist groups. Also, Sarah Palin becomes the Black Cat.
Richard Linklater's proposed "spiritual sequel" to "Dazed And Confused" has reportedly been shelved, according to the Risky Biz Blog.
The buzzed-about-script titled "That's What I'm Talking About" was reportedly facing financing problems but is now simply a victim of the current volatile times. Despite having interested financiers, none were prepared to board the project in this "rocky finished film market" until a distributor was signed. Adversely though, distributors are not prepared to back a project which is only in the script stage of development.
"We still think it's very marketable. It's just has to go on the shelf for now," a representative for Linklater reveals. Surely there's a distributor somewhere out there willing to take a risk on this? Anyone?
The plight of the film probably doesn't surprise Linklater though. The director had resigned to the fact the film would struggle to get going. "Unless it's a tentpole, sequel, remake, or over-the-top comedy, that's all the studios are even doing," the director noted of the safe and boring choices Hollywood is making these days. "They've kind of admitted they're not in the business of doing anything else. The slightest level of irony or intelligence and, boom, you're out of the league, you're done."
The project was originally set to begin shooting in the summer and even reportedly had Matthew McConaughey in loose talks to star. A number of people that Linklater had in mind for the juicy roles are even said to have already read for the project.
Woodstock Festival Director Calls Source Material For Ang Lee's 'Taking Woodstock' Pretty Much "Nonsense"
Woodstock festival director Michael Lang has cast a cloud of skepticism over Ang Lee's upcoming "Taking Woodstock" by revealing that much of Eliot Tiber's recollections, which Lee's film is based on, is "pretty much nonsense."
Jeffrey Wells reports that, at an interview session for the Blu-ray and DVD release of "Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music," Lang proclaimed that "Eliot's recollections are pretty much nonsense past the phone call that he made to me. He called me - that's true. He called my office, spoke to my assistant Tisha. We went up to see him. He gave me this guy Morris Abrams, a real estate agent to go around and look for other land and that's how we found Max [Yasgur]. That was really his only involvement. He didn't know Max, Max didn't know him. The rest of it is pretty much nonsense."
In the film, Tiber is portrayed by comedian-turned-actor Demetri Martin while Jonathan Groff plays Lang.
"["Taking Woodstock"] is a book that [Tiber] has written three times," Lang added. "And what resonates, I think, is that sort of sincere stuff about how he raised his parents, what that relationship with them was like, and what he was feeling because of being closeted...living that other life. And what happened when we descended on that town and on his motel. That part of it is accurate. The rest of it is what he would have liked it to be....given his druthers."
Further, Lang recalls the discussion he had with director Lee regarding Tiber's inaccuracies. Lee seemingly acknowledges that Tiber's story may not be totally truthful by responding that his goal was simply to use Eliot's recollections as a doorway to explore the sensibility of what Woodstock was and what it means today. Lang added that Lee was particularly intrigued by the relationship between Tiber and his parents though and felt it was one of the stronger motivations for Lee to make the film.
We saw "Taking Woodstock" at Cannes and thought that despite being "much more innocuous than similar period, age stories," the film was still "spirited" with "a warm-hearted essence to the picture that perhaps captures the soul of the peace and love generation." That said, it was mild doobage and a minor, somewhat forgettable work by Ang Lee. Will this news hurt the film further? It remains to be seen, but's probably going to be an uphill struggle for the film to find traction unless the 40th anniversary of Woodstock happening this summer somehow entices the zeitgeist again.
The film will hit theatres August 14th.
In an interview on Australian radio, Russell Crowe has revealed that Ridley Scott's untitled Robin Hood film is set to adopt the simple, and probably effective, title of "Robin Hood."
"I think it's just going to be 'Robin Hood,' said Crowe, who will portray the iconic title character. "We had a meeting prior to Christmas and the studio were talking about 'Nottingham' as a title being well known now and having been discussed for 18 months in the highest levels of press and marking and stuff like that. And it was a good, what they call, a solid gold name. And the question came up 'But is it better than 'Robin Hood'? and everyone just shook their heads and said 'No it's not.'"
The interviewer further reveals that Crowe had previously spoken of the problems that his 2005 film "Cinderella Man" had with it's own title. Crowe was of the belief that the effeminate connotations with Ron Howard film's title affected its box office performances and that it may have been more effective to have named it "Braddock."
"Robin Hood" is currently undertaking principal photography in Wales after finishing off in England. The film is scheduled to finish shooing in August and is seemingly on track for the tentative release date of May 14th, 2010. [via Dark Horizons]
New 'Scott Pilgrim' Vlog #7 Reveals 3 New Minor Characters, Including Michael Comeau Who Know Everybody (Including You)
It's Friday so, it's about that time. The new Edgar Wright, "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World," vlog number 7, is one of our favorites just cause it's chill and amusing. In minor news, it also reveals three minor characters in the script, but one rather beloved in Michael Comeau, a bespectacled ubiquitous character who just knows everyone there is (who looks dead-on for the part, nice work).
Wiki's got a good (and accurate) recap on every one of these characters.
Michael Comeau: A friend of Scott's who knows everybody (including you). Based on Bryan Lee O'Malley's friend of the same name, a Toronto graphic artist. He has a ring which also knows everybody, which he claims to have obtained from the future
Monique: Another ex-classmate of Scott's. 23 years old. "kind of a bitch."
Sandra: Former classmate of Scott's. 24 years old. "kind of a ditz."
Also, unless everything in Toronto has radically changed, everyone on the set of "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World," has a very weird perception about frat houses in Canada. First off, we didn't even know frats existed in Canada and if they do, they're likely about as rowdy as an American senior citizen's bingo parlor.
Last we heard about Jonah Hill's "The Adventurer's Handbook" — a spec-script co-written with Max Winkler and Matt Spicer — the screenplay had been sold to Universal for seven figures and Akiva Schaffer, known for his SNL Lonely Island skits with Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone was in negotiations to direct (and Jason Schwartzman c0-starring alongside Hill).
But looks like Schaffer is out and according to an L.A. Times article about Universal and its relationship and deals with Apatow and his buddies, Nick Stoller — director of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" — has got the gig. Apparently the production will start shooting next March.
Update: Geez, if you can't trust the L.A. fucking Times? Who can you trust? Or as Matt Spicer just said, who emailed to correct this story and rightly slap us on the wrist, "Maybe that's why they're going out of business." Fuck a stupid duck for us actually believing a report written by the L.A. Times. So yeah, Stoller has nothing to do with this. In other news, Akiva Schaffer is now confirmed as the director of this project. Excuse us while we dunk our head in the toilet and then book a one way ticket to the office of Times writer Claudia Eller.
"The Adventurer's Handbook" is a comedy about a group of friends who become inspired by the hardcore explorers profiled in Mick Conefrey’s similarly titled non-fiction guide, and go on a global adventure, following the rules outlined in the guide.
On a side note, the L.A. Times says, Universal is "deep" in development of sequels to the 'Bourne' series, "Wanted" and yet another "Fast & Furious," but geez, maybe that's false too, ugh.
How does a movie about successful baseball statistics game planning get green lit, let alone a $57 million dollar budget?
Well, Steven Soderbergh — the director of this one, titled, "Moneyball," — did write a book called, "Getting Away With It," but the answer seems to be Brad Pitt.
Put him in anything, a piece of mud with a couple of words on it and it'll get the green light. But this L.A. Times article does put it all in good perspective and articulates just how remarkable this feat is.
Plus they note, that it has no love story, no perceptible villains, and "and lots of wonky baseball chatter." Apparently the script is incredibly faithful to the source material too.
The final shooting script was written by Steve Zaillian ("Schindler's List"), but still it seems like the most unlikeliest Hollywood $50+million film ever. Or at least in a long, long time. Let's not forget, Soderbergh wants to use animation in it, as a narrative gimmick.
Soderbergh apparently is going go cast real Oakland A's baseball players to play themselves too. "[He's so adamant about sticking close to the tone and texture of the book that he is having many of the actual characters involved with the 2002-era events -- including Oakland A's Manager Art Howe, catcher turned-first baseman Scott Hatteberg and outfielder David Justice -- play themselves."
The film is set to start shooting June 11 and knowing Soderbergh — who again is acting as the cinematographer on this one — he's probably have it in the can in five months and will start working, possibly shooting on something else.
So Canadian synth-rockers Metric's music will stand in for... The Clash At Demonhead in Edgar Wright's "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" live-action, graphic novel adaptation as we've guessed all along?
Well, according to our buddies in the L.A. Times who spoke to Metric, their music — an unreleased track called “Black Sheep” — will stand in for some band in 'Scott Pilgrim' they just don't say who.
...the picture stars Michael Cera as a budding rock 'n’ roll bassist, and [the] unreleased Metric song “Black Sheep” will represent one of the bands in the film. Haines says the song would have been released on Fantasies had Wright not approached the group. “There was a debate as to whether or not it should go on the record. The guys [in the band] didn’t know what I was talking about in it, and I couldn’t really tell them. It has images of things in space -- real estate in space. It’s some of the more esoteric lyrics I’ve written, which totally worked for Edgar’s movie.”The lyrics don't reveal that much —"Hello again, friend of a friend/I knew you when/I come and go/Was waiting for the world to end/Now that the truth is just a rule that we can bend/You change the trick/Shape-shift and trick/The past again" — but the Clash at Demonhead are the only band in the 'Scott Pilgrim' graphic novels that is fronted by a female just like Metric, who also plays and sings keyboards... just like Metric (and there's basically only two bands in the Scott Pilgrim story, The Clash At Demonhead and Cera's band Sex Bob-omb, though in the script, evil boyfriends #5 and #6 Kyle & Ken Katayanagi are sort of a band).
Song removed by request of the producers.
As you'll recall, "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" is the story of a Canadian slacker (Scott Pilgrim played by Michael Cera) who must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil ex-boyfriends in order to win her heart — she is Ramona Flowers (as played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead). The film is expected to hit theaters in the summer of 2010.
We already revealed to you months ago about Landon Pigg, the indie musician cast as Ellen Page's love interest in Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, "Whip It!" due in the fall on October 9. But he's putting out a new album out and USA Today has some updates on his character and role (and note, he's going to be on the soundtrack as well, but note Mark Mothersbaugh has been fired from writing the score). Plus it's a slow day.
He plays "a musician in the big city" who becomes romantically involved with the heroine, portrayed by Juno's Ellen Page. "He represents one of many new challenges for her." Others in the cast include Marcia Gay Harden, Juliette Lewis and Jimmy Fallon.Fall in love with him now before he becomes big and your school girl crush evaporates. His new album, The Boy Who Never comes out August 25. He's also on the "Imagine That" soundtrack (the Eddie Murphy kids movie).
Uh, oh. As we alluded to yesterday... Umm, auto erotic aspyhxiation?
According to the AP who spoke to the Bangok police:
"[Carradine] was found in a hotel room closet with a rope tied to his neck and genitals, and his death may have been caused by accidental suffocation."No suicide note was found in his room. "The initial cause of death is likely asphyxiation, which was probably caused by the rope that was tied around his neck [and another rope around his genitals]," senior officer, Col. Somprasong Yenthuam said.
Even one of Carradine's manager's don't think it was suicide. "All we can say is, we know David would never have committed suicide," said Tiffany Smith of Binder & Associates, his management company. "We're just waiting for them to finish the investigation and find out what really happened. He really appreciated everything life has to give ... and that's not something David would ever do to himself."
Man, if we're wrong, we're going to hell for that headline, at this point, but it is a question and not a statement. Haskell Wexler, where are you now?
Update: 3:30 p.m. EST: Damn, son! “Under these circumstances we cannot be sure that he committed suicide but he may have died from masturbation,” said police commander Lt. Gen. Worapong Siewpreecha.
First off, and probably your best mainstream cineplex bet is Todd Phillips' immature comedy dude brofest, "The Hangover," which isn't as classic as "Old School," but still does provide some serious laughs. It's a little clunky in spots, but we presume you're just looking for crude, silly hilarity which Phillips does so well and mostly provides. We would recommend and would like to note once more just how excellent Zach Galifianakis is in the film. Other critics seem to agree as the film has an 81% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Looking like much less of a winner critically — whether its a box-office loser remains to be seen — is Brad Siberling's "Land Of The Lost" with Will Ferrell, Anna Friel and Danny McBride. As one of our contribs pointed out the other day, Ferrell always seems to be lost at the movies without director and buddy Adam McKay, and reviews of this one are not good. The consensus seems to be the film is a "series of inconsistent sketches than a cohesive adventure comedy" and has a poor 24% rating on RT. Still it's PG-13 and mainstream as all get out, so don't be surprised if this one does well financially (after all audiences did come out in droves for shit like, "The Day the Earth Stood Still," and "Journey to the Center of the Earth," which all feel like same shit, different pile to us). We basically thought thought the same as others: it's an unfunny scattershot mess and for what audience exactly? Who the hell knows.
But apparently, if pundits are correct, Pixar's "Up" will take the #1 box-office spot again and 'Lost' and 'Hangover' will duke it out for the second spot. The laws and synergies of diminishing returns and dumb audiences make us believe that 'Lost' has the upperhand, but many feel like, 'Hangover,' can clinch. We'll see.
Nia Vardalos, writer and star of "My Big Fat Greek," seems to have had her "comeback" cut short by critics. Her "My Life in Ruins" film is being called a "charmless romantic comedy" and has a piss-poor 11% RT rating. There's plenty of reviews too and it's not just a limited release smattering of critics. It goes wide today. It's probably going to be Fox Searchlight's first "bomb" of the year, but then again, they've already released "Miss March," which audiences already ignored wholesale (yes, they're a great little indie mini-major, but fanboys should note, not everything they release turns to gold).
In Limited Release
Academy Award winner Sam Mendes' "Away We Go" is easily the biggest film in limited release this weekend and probably the most enticing one to 20-30 something indie film audiences given that it stars John Krasinski of "The Office," Maya Rudolph of "Saturday Night Live" (and Paul Thomas Anderson's babies) and an bittersweet-ish, indie-folk soundtrack by Alexi Murdoch (god, people no more "Garden State" for anything remotely indie and with an Pitchfork-approved soundtrack, how fucking obvious and there has been other film's released since 2004). However, one of us did not like it in the least and found it to be an empty-headed sitcom-like travelogue [ed. I'll probably regret this, but since I haven't seen it, I'm still vaguely curious]. The film seems to really divide critics with some hating it and some loving it and finding it sweet, charming and endearing, but it only has a 61% RT rating which is like a C grade?
After that, the most notable is "Downloading Nancy," simply because of its star. It's a film we were mildly intrigued/fascinated with the possibilities of the fucked-up sounding Internet drama, which stars Mario Bello as a dissatisfied housewife who goes online to stave off boredom and becomes so engaged in an online relationship (with Jason Patric), she leaves her husband (Rufus Sewell) to pursue a sexually perverse fling. But lord, it was pretty stillborn. It's not terrible, per se, — though it has a dismal 16% rating on RT — but it's also not remotely good, completely unengaging and purposefully cold to the point of alienation. The actors strengths are completely underused and there's nothing kinky, sexy, entertaining or intriguing about the flat and lifeless picture. It's about people who essentially hurt themselves or each other so they can feel something. It also contains an obnoxious bleepy electronic-like score that sounds as if it was composed by the Postal Service who are purposefully trying to annoy you. It's miserable, despairing and has no pulse whatsoever. There's one monochromatic color and tone to the entire picture and it's suicide gray. Ok, maybe it is terrible [ed. that's our review, C-].
Another film we saw months ago, but didn't review is "Séraphine" a picture lauded up the wazoo by the French Cesars (the French Oscars), taking the prize in seven out of its nine nominations including Best Music Written for a Film (Michael Galasso), Best Original Screenplay (Martin Provost and Marc Abdelnour), Best Actress (Yolande Moreau) and Best Film. It has 14 reviews on RT that add up to a super solid 92% rating, but we would say hold the phone a little bit. It's well crafted and engaging, but it was a bit cold and dour for our taste. People who love classically-made, tragic biopics will probably enjoy it. So might your mom (we're half-joking).
Lauded Chinese director Jia Zhang-ke's "24 City" has a great looking poster and a venerable 91% rating on RT (only 12 reviews though), but it's really only a film that the artiest of the arthouse and chin-stroking critics will enjoy. It' pseudo-documentary/ fictional version of cinéma-vérité, which centers on three generations of characters in the Chinese city of Chengdu and mixing a blend of fiction and fact, the film features five authentic interviews (some retired workers) and four invented stories all about people that worked amongst and around a state-owned factory that eventually gave way to a modern apartment complex. To some it says something profound about the socio-economic class system and nostalgia for pure-Communist China (as opposed to the modern communism they have now), but we honestly found it really dull and like eating a bowl of dry oat bran with raw broccoli mixed in.
Also out in limited release is the music doc, "Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love," which some of our correspondents saw at SXSW and it sounds decent, but not mandatory unless you happen to be a big fan (not enough RT reviews to generate a rating). Another film is the winning art documentary, "Herb & Dorothy" about an elderly couple who horde away a estimable (and highly valuable) modern art collection which we saw at the Independent Film Festival of Boston and pretty much loved. If you're into documentaries, especially ones examining the lives of kooky, idiosyncratic people, this one seems like a good bet.
Not even on RT schedule for this week, but reviewed in TimeOut New York and the NYTimes — which means it's out in limited release now?? — is "Tennessee" the road trip movie where everyone seemingly mopes around the whole time. Two brothers (Adam Rothenberg and Ethan Peck) travel to the titular state to find their estranged father. Mariah Carey co-stars as the aspiring singer they pick up along the way (as one is wont to do on a road trip. Carey also contributed some songs to the soundtrack, including "Right to Dream" which she co-wrote with Willie Nelson (and made the shortlist for last year's Oscar nominations). It has a sub-par 44% rating.
And that's it. Whew, exhausted, best of luck with all that.
A.) Sci-fi enthusiasts looking for a serious reinvention of the campy television series?
B.) 30-something hipsters who want to see a jokey romp based on a show they used to watch as kids?
C.) Children who want to see Will Ferrell chased around by a cartoon dinosaur? (Which is what the marketing has been based primarily on.)
The movie is a remake of the television series, but in mostly superficial ways.
After the scene with the little kid asking the probing question about weed, Ferrell is inspired, in part by a young scientist (Anna Friel, leaden and unfunny) and in part by a junk food bender (a boon for the product placement people - restaurants become dialogue!), Ferrell builds his theoretical machine. Soon enough they're out in the desert testing it, and are sucked into a swirling vortex (along with Danny McBride's redneck roadside huckster). Soon they're on the other side of the portal, in a mystical realm inhabited by dinosaurs, monkey men, bubble-eyed aliens, and sets that despite costing $100 million look like they were cobbled together with paper-mâché and Elmer's glue.
As far as plot goes, there's really none to speak of. The three of them (along with an outcast monkey man played by Andy Samberg's writing partner, Jorma Taccone) dash around the jungle, desert, and mountains, experiencing weird shit, running away from a T. rex and making pop culture references. At some point an alien with the voice of James Lipton sends them on a somewhat essential quest, which could result in them zapping themselves home, but it's really just a thin excuse for more pointless dashing.
Up until the halfway point, "Land of the Lost" is achingly, groan-inducingly bad. It's unfunny, it's slow, and for all the expensive digital trickery, never really dazzles. But then it starts to get kind of fun. It's still messy, it still misses as much as it hits, but about the time our heroes are being chased around a sand dune littered with icons of various time zones, by a pair of carnivorous dinosaurs, it at least manages to entertain. Or maybe by that point your defenses have been lowered by all the inane shit you've seen up until that point.
It doesn't hurt that the chase sequence is followed by a prolonged drug sequence (yes, this is a movie that was marketed towards children) that reaches some truly sublime levels of silliness (spoiler alert: there's a giant crab). Still, by the end, the movie never maintains any tonal consistency for long enough to be really enjoyable.
Part of this is due to the fact that direct Brad Siberling is a kind of stylistic succubus, content to simply borrow instead of going through the effort of creating his own look. He's gone from aping Spielberg ("Casper") to Herzog ("City of Angels") to parroting Tim Burton ("Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events"). Here he goes for an ambling Judd Apatow framework while staging elaborate action sequences that he shoots like a film student who was really impressed with Paul Greengrass' 'Bourne' movies (all shaky hand-held, without much reason). His placement of the camera often seems profoundly wrongheaded, like he hasn't taken into consideration that months down the line, there will be a giant cartoon dinosaur standing next to Will Ferrell (one that has a very, very long tale).
One wonders what Adam McKay, who serves here as an executive producer and has directed Ferrell in 'Anchorman,' "Talladega Nights," and "Step Brothers" (as well as his Tony-nominated G W. Bush performance in "You're Welcome, America"), would have done with the material. Considering McKay and Ferrell's penchant for pushing their comedy into truly absurd situations that border on the surreal, they would have probably cooked up a Land of the Lost that was unlike anything people were expecting. And whatever that was, they probably would have maintained it for the entire movie.
Instead, we get a movie that's so schizophrenic and scattershot that virtually no one comes away unscathed (Danny McBride thankfully makes it out with only minor scrapes and bruises). Whatever your expectations are for "Land of the Lost," you'll probably leave unfulfilled. Unless you were really looking forward to Will Farrell saying "Fuck you" to a guy in an unbelievably phony-looking ape costume in a movie that's supposed to be for little kids. If that's what you're looking for, then you're in luck. Anybody else will be utterly lost. [C-] - Drew Taylor
A film we saw months ago, but didn't review is "Séraphine" a picture lauded up the wazoo by the French Cesars (the French Oscars), taking the prize in seven out of its nine nominations including Best Music Written for a Film (Michael Galasso), Best Original Screenplay (Martin Provost and Marc Abdelnour), Best Actress (Yolande Moreau) and Best Film. It has 14 reviews on RT that add up to a super solid 92% rating, but we would s
Yolande Moreau does put in a superb performance as the crazy, obsessive idiot savant housekeeper turned obsessive artist turned crazy (e.g. similar in tone to "Camille Claudel" to name one example), but we'd be lying if we didn't say the film was a bit of a slog, and of the typical austere and severe art biopic mien. The French idyllic countryside moments can be nice to look at, but the milieu is mostly the ashen misery of post WWII and it feels as wet, cold and damp as it does up onscreen. Sure that means its effectively communicate the harshness of the subject's life, but it's more admirable to look at then a film we truly enjoyed.
Still, it's a huge award winner in France and some find it carefully observed (which it is), un-condescening (which it is) and evocatively incandescent portrayal of madness (mmm, on the fence). It opens up this weekend in limited release.
Working in Mumbai on "Slumdog Millionaire," clearly made a huge impact of director Danny Boyle.
Yesterday, we noted that Boyle bought the rights to "Maximum City" nonfiction memoir, travel writing and socio-political analysis of the people of Mumbai and today ScreenDaily reports on two more possible India-based collaborations. In what capacity though, seems to be unclear.
Boyle could team up with India's well-celebrated director Shekhar Kapur ("Elizabeth" and its sequel, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age") on a project called, "Paani (Water)," that Boyle is so apparently gung-ho to do he's trying to convince Kapur to delay another film.
All of it sounds like early days though. “We are looking at a potential collaboration,” Kapur said. “We are at a creative stage right now and there is nothing concrete yet.” The project is apparently about a future Mumbai where water is immensely scarce and the culture is divided into two casts systems called "haves" and "have-nots."
Another potential collaboration is with Anurag Kashyap ("Dev D," "No Smoking, "Black Friday"), though this leading Indian director quashed rumors that Boyle is producing his upcoming film, "Bombay Velvet." "[Danny and I] have just talked about working together – in what capacity I don’t yet know. We will discuss this when he comes back in July. At the most I might collaborate on something with him.”
Could Boyle just act as a producer or executive producer to these projects? Could be, and neither of them seem to be immediate. The quest to find out what exactly is Boyle's next directorial effort continues...
Here's the final poster for "Julie & Julia" the Julia Childs film starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams which comes out August 7. It's written and directed by Nora Ephron. We'd watch Adams read the phonebook. [Twitter via Firstshowing]
Danny McBride puts the break on the CHUD report that his "Hench"graphic novel adaptation about a super villain's henchman will contain D.C. Comic book villains. For one he clarifies, he had hoped to include D.C. Comics characters and not just villains, secondly, he's not sure they can get the rights and thirdly, “once we write this filthy dirty script, probably no one’s going to want to be involved with it.” Yeah, expect a "Hench" film with "Hench" characters and that's it. Like you're surprised that D.C. won't let McBride fuck with their lucrative properties, but maybe they can spring for fifth-rung also-rans. [Splashpage]
Clifton Collins Jr. has confirmed that he has met with "Thor" producers, but other than that he reveals nothing of substance. He wants a part. He might get one. [MTV]
Guillermo del Toro says the actor to play Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit" is close to being announced, maybe a couple of weeks, but he admits he hasn't spoken directly to the actor, and possibly just his reps (the answer is a bit vague). [MTV]
Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Gael Garcia Bernal and Franco Nero have joined, "Letters To Juliet" which is based on a book about the letters written by Juliet Capulet, you know of "Romeo & Juliet." [Variety]
Here's a half-revealed look at Matthew Patel (actor Satya Babha) the Indian hipster ex-boyfriend of Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) that Michael Cera has to battle and defeat from "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World." [EdgarWrightIsHere]
Could James Cameron's "Avatard," err.... "Avatar" be over 2 and a half hours and possibly three? Will you get a headache from all that 3D? [/Film]
Want to see the theater screening expansion plan for "The Brothers Bloom"? It's kind of playing all over the place now. [director RianJohnson's site]
Production Weekly's Twitter feed has a few updates: Zach Galifianakis is apparently in talks for a family comedy called, "Say Uncle," Edward Zwick will direct Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway in "Love & Other Drugs" which is based on a book about a Viagra salesman, and Elijah Wood, Adrien Brody and Cam Gigandet have evidently joined Forest Whitaker in the cast of a film called, "The Experiment."
Chris Pine is in talks to star along side Denzel Washington in Tony Scott's drama "Unstoppable." The "Star Trek" actor is set to portray young conductor who jumps into a locomotive with an experienced engineer (Washington) in chase of a runaway train that carries a cargo of toxic chemicals. The script by Mark Bomback and is loosely based on true events. [Variety]
Looks like the report was on the money, Clint Eastwood's Nelson Mandela ruby-drama, once titled, "The Human Factor" is now officially titled "Invictus," and is set for a December 11 release.
The film which — also stars Matt Damon as the South African rugby captain who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Mandela (Morgan Freeman); the duo uniting a nation through an underdog Rugby World Cup run a year after apartheid ended — will go head to head with Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones," and presumably both films will roll out in slow, Oscar-building limited release campaign much like Eastwood's "Gran Torino" last year.
Btw, all those that scoffed at old codger, 'Torino'? It had one of the best profit margins of 2008 costing $33 million to make and raking in over $148 million in the U.S. alone (another $112 million overseas for a whopping $260 million worldwide total). Let's not forget he released two films last year too with "Changeling." Do not count Clint out.
'Bones' is based on the popular Alice Sebold novel about a young girl (played by Saoirse Ronan) as a spirit in heaven as she struggles between her dichotomous desires for vengeance against her murderer and wishes for her family to grieve and rebuild their lives. The film also stars Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci. In Contention recently wrote on 'Bones'' potential citing that the novel is "weighed down by a maudlin, sometimes lurid literary sensibility that could benefit from the more interpretive route of visual storytelling" and that any silver screen adaptation would require a "subtler hand than Sebold’s to move into the realm of art." Whether or not Jackson can address such issues remains to be seen.
Early test screenings reviews for 'Bones' have thus far been mixed though negativity in the reviews seems to surround editing room issues rather than anything substantial. Ronan's performance as the lead, Susie Salmon, has also been garnering strong word.
Eastwood's "Invictus," meanwhile, is still currently in production though its Oscar potential predominantly stems from its helmer's history and the film's subject rather than any strong buzz. Last season, Eastwood's "Changeling" earned Oscar nominations in the best actress, best cinematography and best art direction categories while "Gran Torino" gained significant critical acclaim (and $$$) despite being ignored by the Academy.
Both films are sure to stir up the awards season this December whether that be that they rise to become contenders or fall to be pretenders. Either way, December 11th will be a big date for the 2010 awards - mark it down in your diaries. Looks like we finally have something substantial to talk about Oscar-wise. - Simon Dang
According to Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, the operation hopes to expand their roster by releasing four films a year.
"If the films keep succeeding there will be a well from which to pull financing to make two films, three films, four films a year. The question is what those films are going to be. How much are they going to cannibalize the whole notion of a Marvel movie."
Pretty optimistic since they're averaging about one film a year so far. Let's hope they remember to keep quality over quantity, but then again these are all big "if's" contingent on big success from all these films.
Meanwhile, talk of Will Smith playing Captain America persists....sort of. When asked about the actor, Feige says. “I think Will Smith is probably one of those handful of international stars,” which in a way means nothing.
An African American super patriot hero who lived through some of the U.S.'s worst eras of racism? Yeah, its an Obama year and all, but we're not sure how this would be remotely plausible.
Those worried about "Thor," and the crippled Donald Blake alter-ego slowing down the action, Feige says don't worry, that character won't be in the film (though he confirms Chris Hemsworth as Thor in case you were wondering). Sounds like Asgard all the time. As much as this Marvel prez sounds optimistic, he also sounds very realistic which is a good thing. He concedes to the fact that yes, Samuel L. Jackson is signed on for nine films, but that's if nine films actually happen. "You have to keep in mind that that's if everything happens perfectly and every movie is a hit and everything works it could be a grand total of nine," he says. "The Avengers" outline by Zak Penn is apparently being started this summer, but the storylines that hit before it ("Iron Man 2," "Captain America," "Thor") will all inform the film so nothing concrete will be worked on until later. As for the return of The Hulk for "The Avengers" film? "I think it'd be cool. I'd like to see The Hulk again," is about all Feige can muster. Let's pencil that in as a "maybe" for now and it might depend on if Edward Norton is cool with Marvel two years from now.
/Film correctly asks. With at least eight costumed hero films (some of them D.C. Comics films t0o) hitting between now and 2012 and Marvel wanting to add potentially four more a year, aren't audiences going to start feeling super hero fatigue? The answer is, eventually yes. Studios always strike when the iron is hot, but there's always a breaking point when audiences tire and reject the deluge they're offered. Either that or crankin' 'em out will force a loss in quality control which will turn audiences further. Frankly, we'd let super hero films have their day before reboots and remakes which have gotta stop.
[UGO/ via /Film]
You ever have that problem articulating how you feel about a film and then you read someone who basically sums it all for you and then, you're like "Jesus, fuck already, crap!"
Yeah, that's how we felt. So Movieline's Seth Abramovitch's opening paragraph to his review of Todd Phillips' "The Hangover" is pretty much exactly how we felt. We thought about rewriting the same idea over and over again all day, but realized we were, tired, hungry, lazy and more inarticulate than usual.
"I came to The Hangover ready to laugh. More than ready: I came primed, as if my entire life (for the past six weeks) had been leading up to witnessing for my own eyes this blinding, white supernova of funny. If I were to do it all over again, I’d probably lower those expectations by 30%. It’s frequently amusing, and almost always entertaining. It’s in truth way above average for your typical dudes-acting-stupid movie. But it’s also far from a classic."
And that's pretty much it. There's some deliciously wicked laughs in the Sin City romp, Zack Galifianakis' dimwitted, semi-retarded character steals the show (Dustin Hoffman's "Rain Man" character meets, well... Galifianakis), and the plot — as you can imagine — is a little bit clunkier than what you're normally willing to expect from a low-brow frat comedy. That is to say, you're not looking for plot or expecting sharp writing aside from comedy, but you're at least anticipating a semi-coherent story. And while "The Hangover" has a basic structure that's easy enough to follow, it does have a stop-start rhythm that's distracts, and precludes it from becoming the full-on laugh explosion that it promises and flirts with. There's definitely a lull in the second half, but just when you start to think it's dead in the water, the pacing picks up again and the laughs come fast and furious — especially in the ridiculous/awesome conclusion that plays out in the credits. We won't spoil it for you, though Vulture already did that.
And as wonky as the narrative engine is (though the opening prologue that kicks off the tale is inventive), the story is rather clever. It subverts the bachelor party blueprint, by never showing the bachelor party (ok, almost never, stay til the end). Sure, that's not exactly rocket science and one can argue that 'Hangover' apes the plot of "Dude Where's My Car?" — jackasses wake up clueless and with hangovers and have to solve the mystery of what happened to their automobile. Hitchock and high-concept it ain't, but it's basically an absurd detective story that isn't as absurdist in tone as one might expect (as say compared to maybe "Step-Brothers" which was impossibly silly).
Only this time the missing item is the groom, who in this instance is kind of like the Private Ryan in "Saving Pvt. Ryan." Soldiers, errr, 30-something jagoffs, have to track down and find their awol friend so they can accomplish their mission: bringing him home safe so he can get married in 48 hours (and sure, straight-man groom Justin Bartha isn't exactly part of the story, but couldn't they have at least found an more engaging actor? Even Spielberg got Matt Damon for his third act).
The film does score points for not just taking the "Old School" formula and dropping in new placeholder actors for the Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson characters. In fact, it's not even four buddies on a Vegas adventure story. It's three buddies and one, unwanted brother-in-law (Galifianakis weirdo, rophynol-enthusiast character), who's present more out of guilt rather than true friendship and it's this small twist that makes the dynamic — two best friends Bradley Cooper & Ed Helms and an outsider they outwardly dislike — slightly more unique (again, it's not Shakespeare).
The Mike Tyson section of the story — in their debauchery these jerkwads discover that they break into the house of the ex heavyweight champion and steal his pet tiger — isn't anywhere as funny as it sounds and Tyson himself is a little awkward. There's a lot of swinging for the fences comedy that also doesn't always work. Ken Jeong's Mr. Chow nemesis character is part Asian minstrel show, part hilarious. You're laughing and then guffawing in the same sequence (too bad there wasn't more of Jeffrey Tambor, he's fantastically droll. Heather Graham? She shows her boobs. Yes, we know you're shocked there).
Many have asked us how it compares to Judd Apatow films, but in many ways they're apples and oranges. Apatow does heart n' balls serio-comedies and Phillips doesn't even really bother with much of a sweet spot or tender moments and tends to just aim the football straight for the nutsack of profaneness. There's nothing wrong with that if done well, but it's just something to note. Phillips eschews any point either. While something like "I Love You, Man" (certainly Apatow-ian, thought not made by) essentially is about the value of friendship, even the buddies tone of 'Hangover' isn't trying to say anything remotely deep, let alone remotely puddle-deep. It's about having a good time and hanging on for the ride.
Here we are analyzing a fucking fratastic comedy (that is not that fratty per se, btw) and probably putting more thought into it than the filmmakers did themselves. Bottom line? While "The Hangover" must be seen as a return to form for Todd Phillips — and what isn't after "School For Scoundrels" — it's just not perfect and or as funny as one hopes. That's managing your expectations a little. It is riotously funny in moments (again, Galifianakis' clearly improvisational riffs are gut-busting) and there some excellent amusing choices of balla-playa music (Rihanna, Ludacris) used to give off the air that these losers think they're pimp, but it's just, well, not a supernova of comedy that we hoped for (the Danzig that kicks off the film is pretty great too). That said, it's tremendously enjoyable for the most part. Just keep those expectations in check. But, best credits reveal in a film ever? Top 10 of this decade that's for sure. [B]
Talk of a sequel may have been premature, but Warner Bros. undeniably still has a lot of confidence and high hopes for this one. We're curious to see where it'll go and hopefully if they do give it another shot, they can work out the kinks.